Friday, 14 May 2010

Underway, Panama to Galapagos. March 27 - April 3

Fishing boat miles from land laying their long line. Marker buoys with black flags on poles are spaced at intervals of almost a kilometer along the line.

This is what it looks like in the doldrums, going nowhere fast. Luckily we did not spend too much time there!

Couldn't have planned it better. We purchased our "new" spinnaker from Bacons in Annapolis and had it shipped to Panama. It was not until we raised our missen staysail that we realised we had a perfect color and design match!

Back in the Southern Hemisphere. We crossed the Equator at nine minutes past midnight, April 2nd.

Robert, dressed to fit the occasion, makes a champagne offering to Neptune.

It's customary when sailors cross the Equator to celebrate in some way, most importantly, to offer something to Neptune, ruler of the sea.

Owen and Elliot, keeping watch as the sun rises.

The sun, the moon, what else is there out here to photograph?

Elliot is cooking pikelets (pancakes) for breakfast.

Landfall Galapagos, San Cristobal

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Day 19, Thursday, 6th May, 2010. Galapagos to Marquesas

Land Ho, We’ve Arrived!

Eighteen days and about five hours at sea! It was a little rough at times but overall a good passage in good time. We’re happy and extremely excited to see land.

A big frustration is that the navigational computer which we also use to post our position reports, update the blog and send emails while at sea is not working. Robert reloaded the software once but that was only a temporary fix. We still have navigation software running but we won’t be able to communicate while at sea. Tahiti in a couple of weeks is most likely our first opportunity to get it repaired.

Needless to say, we have a lot to catch up on with the blog, including our time in the Galapagos. So over the next couple of weeks until we arrive in Tahiti, we’ll have some blog posts scheduled every few days so you can see where we’ve been.

After exploring the Marquesas we’ll sail to the Tuamotu islands and atolls then to Papeete, Tahiti.

Day 18, Wednesday, 5th May, 2010

Light winds out of the east to east north east aren't ideal but we're working with what we've got. So we are making progress, with about 170 miles to go. Inspiration Lady is in line to buy the ice creams for Anthem, Jackster and Bristol Rose.

The fishing has been light. Elliot's catch amounts to 5 mahi mahi of eating size and one small one that he released. A few days ago we saw a whale we estimate to be about 30 feet long, just about 200 yards off. It's probably a good thing we weren't any closer.

We had the most amazing experience yesterday afternoon. A pod of pilot whales surfed in the swell alongside of us for about half an hour. At first sight they looked like large dolphins with large rounded heads. They're majestic and beautiful to watch, zooming through the water back and forth alongside and underneath us. What was truly incredible was that we could hear them talking in a high pitched "squeal/squeak". The sounds came through the hull!

Day 16, Monday, 3rd May, 2010. Galapagos to Marquesas

Too Much Luff

Breaking through the 500 miles to go mark yesterday was a big psychological boost. We’ve been keeping a fairly steady pace over the past four or five days and managing better than 150 miles a day.

Staying north as long as possible has been a good strategy for us. Thanks to the World ARC and friends on Crazy Horse for that tip. We’ve managed to take full advantage of the South Equatorial Current, the trade winds have been strong enough to make good speed and we’ve been holding close to the rhumbline that will take us direct to the Marquesas.

The days have been sunny, warm and full of blue sky and blue sea with cotton puff clouds here and there, very pretty. We even managed a closeup photo op, spinnaker flying, on the high seas with Inspiration Lady. It’s incredible that the two boats have stayed within sight of eachother for about 1500 miles. Last night put about 10 miles between us.

We had the latest GRIB files and were not looking forward to the forecast change in wind direction to east and northeast. That change yesterday and the decrease in wind velocity, under 10 knots, made last night a bit of a pain. Sailing wing on wing is not fun for us especially in light winds. We’re sticking to our rule of taking the spinnaker in at sunset. So the night was full of the sounds of sails objecting to being subjected to such indignity! Too much luffing going on for anyone to get a good sleep.

This morning with the spinnaker flying, the main at wing on wing, plus the missen staysail out in the bright light of day, it’s a vastly more comfortable ride. Life (and Bristol Rose) is good again.

With 16 days of sailing behind us, we definitely feel as if we’re on the homeward stretch. This evening it’s less than 400 miles to go and counting.